As I continue to cover concepts related to Mental Wellness Awareness month, I wanted to share another aspect of wellness, and that is Spiritual Wellness. This is one of the more complex tenants of Wellness as it is not as tangible or defined as many of the others. To some, Spiritual Wellness is directly tied to their faith, while to others they may assign it to an activity or place that brings them peace and tranquility. While we may each assign our own individual example of Spiritual Wellness, I would advocate that it starts with this; An awareness of something greater than myself. With this in mind, we can then start to consider those places or activities that do in fact bring us to place where we can truly appreciate our own fragile existence, and even more importantly help us to understand our “Why”.
This simple three letter word has some amazing power in sustaining our own personal wellness, as well as helping others to do the same. As Leaders we must know our “Why” and then be able to effectively communicate that “Why” to those in our organization. This is many times the difference between a positive work environment and a toxic dysfunctional workplace. The same holds true in our personal lives, as those who understand their “Why” tend to live a life of happiness, contentment and inner peace.
This “Why” can not be derived from neither monetary gain nor elevated position title, it must be derived from deep within our own being, and the personal character strengths, values and morals that make us who we are.
I have been asked so many times over the past 30 plus years, why I chose the field of Law Enforcement. It’s obviously not placed me in the Forbes Fortune 500, nor has it afforded me a lavish lifestyle, but it has allowed me to fulfill a basic intrinsic personal necessity; The Need to be Needed”. I thrive on human interaction and the ability to help others. It is as much a part of my physical being as breathing. This is my “Why”, and it has been with me long before I became Sheriff, and will be with me long after I am done being Sheriff. My current role is just a means by which I can live out my “Why”.
Although there have been many times where this need has interfered with my family life, and invaded my personal boundaries, it is still the driving force behind my ability to persevere during times of struggle or challenge. It is truly what charges my battery.
So why does “Why” matter? It matters because in each and every one of our lives, we will be faced with pain, struggle, and setbacks. If we assign our “Why” to the superficial, we will come up empty in those times when we must dig deep to find the courage and reason not to give up. Our “Why” must supersede hobbies, possessions, or social events, as all of these are in fact fleeting. Instead, we must look deep inside ourselves for what truly matters to us, and where we find both inner peace, as well as external strength.
So, the next time you are around a campfire, or visiting with friends, instead of a conversation rooted in meaningless talk of politics, sports or gossip, share with each other your own stories of “Why”. For those raising children, helping them understand the value of Spiritual Wellness, is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. We need to model our “Why” for them to emulate. We do this by sharing stories of challenge, struggle, failure and perseverance, and by living the example of a balanced life with a firm foundation in Spiritual Wellness.